Saturday, February 19, 2005

Show of Hands and Oysterband, Reading Guildhall

Again I was feeling very ill, having spent most of the day in bed. Luckily I'd previously opted for seated rather than standing tickets, as with Oysterband I feel an enormous compulsion to dance (but Show of Hands are almost impossible to dance to). These are my two favourite folk bands, as you will have guessed from the links section, so my expectations for the evening were very high.
Bill and I took the train up to Reading, and were sat near some other Oysterfans which it turned out Other Val knew; does she know everyone? ;-)
We met up with Other Val and Julie, and later Matt, in the Hobgoblin, as other Oysterfans from the web group had arranged to meet up there for a pre-concert drinkee. As it is a very good real ale pub we weren't surprised to meet Quentin (a regular at the Prince) and Ken Wildman in there, but were suprised and delighted when Alan Prosser, James O'Grady, Lee Partis and the sound man from Oysterband walked in!! James was looking even tastier than the Potton 'Village Bike' I was drinking (don't say it!). Had a brief chat to Alan about the acoustics and bouncy stage in the venue. Hobnobbing with the stars, eh!
Show of Hands kicked off the evening, playing some of their classics like Santiago, I Promise You, The Setting/Mary from Dungloe, Galway Farmer and Cousin Jack. Phil stunned everyone with his frenetic fast-fiddling, Steve's voice was on good form. Everyone was very appreciative even though it's a much slower style of music to Oysterband. I missed Steve and Phil's jokes and stories though, they didn't really have time for much of that.
Then came the Oysterband whose trip to the pub had obviously put them in the party mood! Although the sound wasn't as perfect as Show of Hands, they belted out the fan's favourites with their usual joi-de-vivre and energy, and the front row were pogoing like mad. Other Val acquired the set list at the end, you'll have to see Eric the Cat's blogspot if you want to read it, but I remember My Mouth, 20th of April, Wayfaring, English Rose. The Hal-an-tow loudly-requesting crowd were there, but JJ told them it was too early! I seem to remember the A Capella gospel hymn and Rise Above being the first encore, and SOH's Country Life (with both bands)and Road to Nowhere being the second encore. I must admit I was doing a bit of chair dancing by then, probably frightening Matt!
A very uplifting night, just what I needed to perk me up.

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